Uni mastectomy w/reconstruction fail, infection, radiation
I was diagnosed with R side breast cancer (stage1, grade1) a few months ago and with team of drs decided to have a unilateral mastectomy on right with immediate reconstruction and R sentinel node. Left breast underwent lift and had benign result from MRI 'weird line' so they cut that part out. Had 2 surprising/unexpected pathology results. 1) Right sentinel node clinically negative but pathology found 4mm cancer. 2) Left breast pathology found 4mm (yes weird coincidence) cancer. Decision to do another surgery on left sentinel node, luckily negative. Because of right node discovery was told needed radiation of axilla. Expander process allowed to finish and went well. Felt good and ready for radiation. A few days before radiation was to start treatments (had gone through simulation etc), developed fever turned out somehow got infection(no one can pinpoint how) and had to have emergency surgery to remove expander. Back to square one reconstruction wise and delay radiation by a few weeks to heal. The Rad. oncologist told me he really wanted to radiate right mastectomy site. With that radiation, reconstruction with implant again ruled out because of damage that will happen during radiation and have to wait at least 6 months after radiation to restart process. I am basically having radiation from ribs up on both sides. Not looking forward to summer with one boob.
My questions are, has anyone else had infection, radiation than successful reconstruction? I'm in Atlanta but willing to look outside state for best most experienced surgeons that specialize in difficult reconstructions. Any suggestions? Any suggestions on treating skin during/after radiation to try to avoid fibrosis? I will most likely have to have some type of autoligious surgery(s). Any thoughts on easiest recovery? Finally, what do you do with symmetry of breasts now that expander out during the summer? (when its cold can hide better)
I appreciate any thoughts, suggestions, guidance etc. This started as a pretty straightforward process and has turned into a complications nightmare. Only saving grace is no Chemo. Thanks for listening!